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tv   To the Contrary With Bonnie Erbe  PBS  December 7, 2014 3:00pm-3:31pm EST

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brazil is a series of contradictions. unemployment is low. a decade of heady growth and progressive social policies
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reduced discrepancies between rich and poor where half the population is middle class. but the hundreds of thousands of people living in poverty in rio's shantytowns have been left behind. concrete and medical tall shacks perch one top another on the hillsides. they are the locust of much of the violence. gang on gang, militia object gang and gang on militia violence confirm cultural notions of hyper masculinity. brazilian culture is ripe with violence from the petty criminals to the drug cartels to
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the government. brazil claims the globe's seventh highest homicide rate. violence and murder remained high even though the police started to rest control of the villas from the drug lords in advance of brazil hosting the 2014 world cup and rio hosting the 2016 summer olympics. in the so-called pass indication movement poorly trained low paid military police used tanks helicopter ships to annihilate drug dealers and occupy the villas. police are responsible for 15% of all homicides sometimes summary executions in rio. little boys raised get the message, success means becoming a drug dealer.
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and survival requires carrying a weapon. the bigger the better. little girls have one way out of intense poverty, become a gangster's girlfriend. in the seemingly impossible environment, some are working to counter cultural trends. a revolutionary idea is taking hold slowly, of course, and against a tsunami of media and other cultural influences that worship violence. but there is another way. some say the final phase of feminism is bringing men into the gender parity process and only then can women become fully equal. letting them see all the work that women do in the home. and letting them experience the joys and the burdens of full-fledged parenting. this is the goal of a nonprofit launched in rio to work with local leaders to transform
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culture. in the men care campaign it teaches men that being a real man doesn't include beating up women and children but is all about being a strong father and equal care giver with his partner. and to question the underlying root causes and inequality both related to gender and to poverty that drive the violence. to call attention to the 50,000 murders a year in brazil, most of those young male and african decent. some have called it brazil's genocide. so how do they get from here to there? from crime and violence as a daily reality to love, nonviolence and family? here are the stories of two men who made the journey. a come from here. but they traveled very different paths.
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my father was an alcoholic. he lost his job because he smoked and drank so much and then he couldn't find another job. so he would break things at home. things were bad enough when he was working but when he lost his job there were even more fights. there were many fights, many fights in my childhood and adolescence. because of different family problems, i always fought a lot with all of my girlfriends. there were many beatings; i would beat them up. and i ended up with three maria da penha violations from the violence against women i would fight because i was jealous. i would fight for anything and for nothing. and then things would degenerate into shouting and hitting.
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fumaça was charged with violating brazil's maria da penha law, enacted in 2006. before that, domestic violence was against the law, but treated less seriously by police and the courts. da penha's ex-husband tried twice to kill her, the first time landing her in a wheelchair, the second by electrocuting her in the shower. a judge threatened fumaça with a very long jail sentence if fumaça appeared before him again. fumaça decided it was time for a change. that, and he was becoming a topic of neighborhood gossip: fumaça. i was born and raised here and everybody knows me, so anything i would do, people would know all about it. it was awful for me, extremely irritating knowing that, when people saw my girlfriend with a black eye they were thinking , "oh, fumaca & her had another fight and he punched her in the eye." or they're gossiping: "did you see that? they're at it again, having yet another fight!"
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or they say: "he got kicked out and has to go to his mother's house again" all that felt bad. it was no fun. he also heard about promundo which carried out community campaigns and offered group education for men seeking change. one of the challenges was recruiting men for the groups. to resolve that, promundo dangles the prospect of free membership in an amateur soccer league in front of them, if the men commit to trying to change. in other words: "you stay, you get to play." they had an elaborate strategy, very sneaky. they had a four-month soccer tournament at the rio de janeiro, santa marta clinic, every sunday. they would give you a soccer uniform, they would give you everything, the catch was that if you wanted to play soccer on sunday you had to attend a bunch of workshops. so, if a guy didn't go to the workshops during the week, on sunday "mr. soccer" couldn't play.
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he joined the group sessions reluctantly, but once there, found the first place he ever felt safe talking about his problems: we always ended up talking about the same thing. each workshop, no matter what the topic, would lead to discussing violence against women. the sessions, part group discussion and part talk therapy, helped him realize how he was damaging the people he loved and himself : fumaça: it was a question of being authoritarian, of wanting to be better and more important than women. often i would treat women as if they were my son or daughter or nephew, and i wanted them to be subservient. if they wouldn't do that, then i considered them violent and arrogant. this caused problems and fights. he went to scores of workshops and training sessions. now he's very proud of who he has become: fumaça: i do everything at home now.
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i took my children to the mother and child clinic. when my girlfriend was pregnant and wanted to eat pineapple early in the morning, i went out and bought it. when she wanted to eat a brownie i went out and bought it. i took the children to the doctor's. i changed their diapers. i gave them baths. i took them for walks. all of my four biological children took their first steps with me, they always counted on me, not on their mothers. they would always ask for me. márcio chagas da paz was also raised in a home riven with alcoholism and brutality. his father left marcio and his mother and five daughters when marcio was only three. but before he left, he damaged his children psychologically in ways that linger long after his death: marcio: sometimes he would come home already drunk, half drunk, and break things. everything he could lay his hands on.
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he would throw everything on the floor. and he often beat up my mother. once when she opened the door he punched her in the face. her face was swollen for a week. her eyes were closed. she couldn't leave the house for a week because she couldn't see. marcio's father formed another family and moved far away: marcio: so we lost any chance of being close. and then he moved far away from us. so, we didn't have a close relationship. we rarely spoke. we only spoke when necessary. marcio decided he wanted to be the type of father he never had, close, loving, involved and concerned. but he didn't know how. he found out about promundo and started attending meetings:
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marcio: i began to see men who attended these support groups, men who were big and strong could still get emotional and break down. there were guys in the group who would melt like butter, crying, as they would tell their stories about their fathers and how much they missed them. they also talked about problems in their lives now. so i began to realize that the support group in itself was stronger than me, than us. and that was an epiphany, it was a breakthrough, the turning point for me being a different kind of father to my son. marcio: you can see people walking around and they seem to be fine, they all seem happy, but at times there is a knot inside that eats them up. and when you see that guy, that friend of yours who cried, who melted down, then you shout: "that's great!," "that's great" that suddenly that burden was lifted from his chest, those tears destroyed that big, "heavy shell," that façade that we all see from the outside, and today i see a different person.
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becoming that new person is difficult and marcio says not everyone has the capacity to change: people can change, but it won't happen if this mentality is deep-rooted. it's like trying to uproot a volcano. marcio uprooted his own volcano by allowing his father back into his life: and we talked as if we were good, true friends. he was here with my son, and then he
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left, and and a week later, he passed away. and when he ... the good thing about all this was the fact that i was able to forgive my father, and i think that, if i hadn't gone to those talks, those
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workshops, today i would feel guilty, if my father died and i hadn't forgiven him. not even for my birthday, he never gave me a hug, and that day he hugged me as he said goodbye to me. i lost that ugly feeling toward him. i didn't resent my father any more. this forgiveness allowed marcio to be the kind of father he always craved: marcio: i am very close to my son. i see how sweet he is with me. so i mean to do the right things for him, the things i've always wanted to do, i'm actually doing
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with him. obviously, i can't give him everything, but i think the main thing is the love, attention, and affection that i feel for him. marcio and his wife planned very carefully for their son. they decided to have just one thank god that verônica, my wife, and i are able to take good care of our son. we pay for a good school for him. thank god we can provide for him. marcio and veronica both work-he as a community organizer and she in two part-time jobs-one as a tour guide. in a setting where women are seen as the principle caregivers, having a husband who shares the care work is still relatively rare. in therapy marcio learned becoming a good
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parent and husband included recognizing his wife's civil rights, to get an education and to earn her own income: veronica moura da silva: "it is not very common for men to stay married with the same wife forever. my father left. he left my mother alone with five daughters. i did not want to suffer like my mother did. i did not want to be beaten up by a drunken husband." it takes a lot more than group education and community campaigns to get the men of the favelas, or men anywhere, to buy into gender equality. to scale it up and make it sustainable, promundo works extensively with the public health sector. with promundo's input, the brazilian health ministry has set up a protocol for fathers to follow, starting well before the child is born. it's designed to engage fathers in the prenatal process so they bond with the baby while it is still in utero. at the same time, men are
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encouraged to get a check-up for themselves, one of the rare moments men do so. in some critical ways, brazil is way ahead of the united states and parts of europe in terms of integrating men into gender equality. and it starts right here, in this maternity ward. marta santos pais: very often involving health workers who when the woman comes for prenatal visits ask why isn't your partner or your husband with you? can we see you both next time? let us do the ultrasound with your partner present and seeing the image of the baby reflected in the ultrasound and listening to the heartbeat of the baby and creating a bond even before the baby is born." from that first visit, fathers attend maternal health visits with their wives and partners. they become actively involved with the pregnancy as opposed to being excluded. traditional
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medical protocol kept the father in the waiting area while the mother gave birth in the delivery room. fathers learn how to change diapers, feed the baby, sing to it and build a healthy, non-violent relationship. dr. viviane manso castello branco rio de janeiro health department. interconnected politics and actions division. viviane manso castello branco: traditionally, health services focused their attention on women and children, with a special emphasis on pregnancy men were not part of the equation. yet, as we moved toward a more holistic approach-here in brazil we have the universal healthcare system which is responsible for the heath of all brazilian citizens-we realized that we have to look at other dimensions, not only men issues but also other issues that concern women it is beautiful to hear the feedback of men who take advantage of these services; of men who are in the delivery room, moved by this experience since they ... can indeed ... experience, in its entirety,
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this very special moment, a moment full of emotion. this father held the mother's hand as the baby was delivered by caesarian section. he was right there when the child was born, and after hospital staff cleaned up the baby and gave it oxygen, the newborn was presented to him before the mother: against children "domestic violence happens as a result of an expression of a very unbalanced power structure within the family and one group that dominates the other and a group that needs to accept that state of affairs. we are struck by the fact that in so many societies around the world, women accept being beaten by very common reasons. the fact that food got destroyed while the wife was watching baby and the food that was on the oven that just burned, or the fact that she went to fetch water for
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the house and the child was left unattended may be accepted as normal reasons for beating the wife. we need to challenge that and overcome this perception and it's plain that men and women need to be equal and that sharing responsibility within the home will help kids being developed with greater confidence and better supported." this woman delivered the baby naturally, as she had done with her prior children. this was the first time her husband was by her side: felipe's mother: "it is "painful" but it is also beautiful, i always, always wanted him by my side. for being his first time, he did a great job! he calmed me down a lot." felipe's father: it creates a bond because i've seen what she went through, her struggle, the pain. it's a new closeness, because i had never witnessed the birth of child before.
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when i saw her giving birth to our son, - yes, it's very emotional, a very special moment." so is men's equal participation in home and child care the final stage of feminism, as i mentioned earlier? gary barker, who founded promundo thinks it is:. barker: we're not going to achieve full equality for women in the workplace and all the other places where women want to succeed, politics and everywhere else, if somebody is not doing half of the unpaid care work. so even if we have subsidized daycare, we still need somebody to do the care work after hours. and i think that the data we have from around the world finds that when men do more of that, women's income goes up, women are more likely to achieve what they want in the workplace and it turns out that men are usually happier as well. barker: we are paying attention, women are enjoying to lean in, right? we need the equivalent for men. right? so is it men we need to diaper
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up or to care up? but there's something we need men to do as another part of this revolution. and i think there is no way we achieve equality unless men do the other part that comes with the lean in. barker believes, in fact, in many ways male-dominated and male-designed societies hurt men and boys barker: all of the lifestyle issues that cause health problems, men are more likely to suffer from them than women are. one of the ways that we try to get men to care for their own bodies is to care for others. i think our data also shows that when men show their cares for others they also show care for themselves. then why is change taking so long and why is men as caregivers still seen as a radical concept in some societies? barker: this is still a radical idea for the reason that we're so used to associating kind of motherhood with caregiving right? and man hood is about the things we do in the workplace and we're given credit when we invent things, right?
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and our business does well. how much credit are we given when we take off time to be with our children? or we say it's as important to do that as anything else as i do. so, it is redefining what it is to be men. so we've kind of done part of that with feminism to say it's not only motherhood that defines women. in fact, you can be a woman without being a mother. so i think we need the other part of that revolution which says men can do half of the in sisyphean fashion, barker keeps rolling his redefinition of manhood up a very unforgiving mountain: barker: it may look like we are going against the grain and that there's a whole machinery making violence and aggression making men out there but it doesn't take a lot to get men to sort of put down that mask and go you know what? i was really frightened when i was enjoined to get into that fight. i really would like deeper relationships with others. for as much as the media makes noise and the
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glorification of certain forms of masculinities there's also lots of men out there already doing this. in fact, you don't have to make it up, we've got stories. you can find men who everyday are already practicing this. the question is are we looking at that or are we only looking at the images of the harm that men do and glorifying it. in fact there are a lot of men that do do this caregiving and report these close relationships with others, every single day. i often think our work is not about making more change but speeding up the change that is already happening. [♪]
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funding for to the contrary provided by the cornell douglas foundation committed to encouraging stewardship of the environment, land conservation, watershed protection and eliminating harmful chemicals. additional funding provided by the colcom foundation. the wallace genetic foundation. the oak foundation. the e rhodes and carpenter foundation. for a transcript or to see an on-line version of this version of to the contrary please visit
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from washington, "the mclaughlin group." the american original. for over three decades, the sharpest minds, best sources, hardest talk. >> issue one, policing the police. >> the sense that in a country where one of our basic principles, perhaps the most important principle, is equality under the law, that too many individuals, particularly young people of color, do not feel as if they are being treated fairly. >> in missouri, a grand jury has decided not to indict ferguson police officer darren wilson. in the shooting death of michael brown. and in new york city, a grand


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